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The evidence for dietary fat guidelines

There was only one diet and health story for me last week. After starting a PhD in September 2012, I had my viva on March 4th (2016) and I’m delighted to say that I passed and have been awarded a doctorate.

This week’s note, therefore, shares what I’ve been doing for the past three years and the key findings...

The title ended up being: “An examination of the randomised controlled trial and epidemiological evidence for the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in 1997 and 1983: A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Please don’t stop reading! It’s actually really easy to put this in terms of what this means for the person in the street.


National dietary guidelines were introduced in 1977 and 1983, by the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) governments respectively. The two specific guidelines introduced were for people to consume no more than 30% of total calories as dietary fat and no more than 10% of calories as saturated fat. It was believed at the time that introducing these guidelines would reduce deaths from heart disease. Incredibly, until now, there has been no review of the evidence upon which these guidelines were based.


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